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DII Management Council takes positions on membership-sponsored proposals

Council also explores Foundation for the Future funding opportunities

The Division II Management Council this week established its position on four membership-sponsored proposals that will come to a vote at the 2016 NCAA Convention.

Citing a need to protect the “life in the balance” approach to the student-athlete experience in Division II, council members decided to oppose two proposals they felt encroached on that philosophy. “We want to keep our focus on the student part of student-athlete,” said Tim Ladd, the faculty athletics representative at Palm Beach Atlantic University and chair of the Management Council.

The council supported the two other proposals that were brought forward this year by conferences and schools:

  • A proposal that would allow a student-athlete who has designated a specific degree program to use up to six credit hours per term earned in a voluntary or optional minor to fulfill progress-toward-degree requirements. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Peach Belt Conference sponsored the proposal.
  • A proposal sponsored by the South Atlantic Conference and a variety of Division II schools that would allow student-athletes playing football to participate in no more than two hours of individual skill instruction outside of the playing season during the academic year. Football is currently the only Division II sport that does not have the opportunity to participate in team activities outside the playing season.

The council voted to oppose:

  • A proposal that would permit in the sports of baseball, softball and women’s volleyball up to two contests played as a “conference challenge event” to be exempted from the maximum limits on contests.
  • A proposal that would allow basketball teams to begin on-court preseason practice Oct. 1 and limit the number of days (to 30) that teams could practice or condition during the preseason.

Next week, the Division II Presidents Council will have the opportunity to take positions on each of the membership-sponsored proposals before the rest of the Division II membership determines their fate in January.

Foundation for the Future

The Management Council also discussed a new initiative that will enable Division II to dedicate $5.2 million for specific strategies or programs through 2020-21. All Division II and Association-wide committees are being invited to submit funding proposals by March 1, 2016. 

The Management Council began to brainstorm funding ideas this week, exploring everything from expanding the Division II Coaches’ Connection Program to financially assisting schools with degree completion. “We realize it’s a one-time opportunity, and we want to maximize the impact it has on student-athlete welfare,” Ladd said. “We’re really valuing input from different constituents to make the wisest decisions.”

The Division II Planning and Finance Committee and the Presidents Council created the “Foundation for the Future” initiative after reviewing recent changes related to the division’s long-range budget.

Division II established the budget in 2011, projecting revenues and expenses through 2023-24 and accounting for the 4.37 percent of the Association-wide revenue that Division II is legislatively guaranteed to receive each year. However, the projected reserve for Division II changed in 2014, when the NCAA Board of Governors approved a new 10-year Association-wide budget based on the NCAA’s media rights agreements and projected championship ticket sales.

After analyzing the new projections and taking into account a $15 million insurance policy that guarantees Division II would receive a portion of the NCAA revenue in the case of an unexpected event, the Planning and Finance Committee and the Presidents Council directed the division to redistribute 70 percent of the reserves plus insurance through 2023-24. The division aims to use the $5.2 million to help fund its 2015-21 strategic plan.

A task force of presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, conference commissioners, faculty athletics representatives and student-athletes has been formed to review the committee’s funding proposals. The task force will then make recommendations to the Planning and Finance Committee and the Presidents Council, which will make its final decisions in April.

Championships Updates

The council approved several recommendations from the Division II Championships Committee, including adding a new round of seeding during the Division II men’s basketball tournament once teams reach the Elite Eight and adopting new regional models for football and men’s lacrosse. More information on the regional models can be found in the Championships Committee report.